Birrikidji Gumana

(Australia circa 1898 – 12 Apr 1982)

Yirrkala, Arnhem region
Language group
Dhalwangu, Arnhem region

Lany'tjung & Barama proclaim the Sacred Law

Other titles:
Laintjun and Barama
Not on display
Further information

An ancestral spirit, Laintjun and his son, Barama, emerged from a sacred waterhole and proclaimed many ceremonial secrets to the first Aboriginal people of the world, including the diamond pattern body design, which represents the water of the sacred well. Here we see Laintjun and Barama explaining how to carve certain high-secret wooden symbols depicting the fresh water snake and fresh water turtle. Instead of the actual symbol the artist has here depicted the creatures they represent. The sacred diamond pattern is shown and at the top of the painting we see two water birds chasing a fresh water crayfish in the sacred billabong.

Harry Messel

Place of origin
Yirrkala, North-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Bark painting
natural pigments on bark
84.0 x 35.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Gift of Harry Messel 1989
Accession number